Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Experiences at SCCR 20

I am privileged to be part of the eIFL.net delegation to WIPO 20th Session of Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights taking place in Geneva.

I just want to share some of the lessons I have learnt.

First and foremost I have realized that we are the experts when it comes to library issues; and by extension we are the people who can best represent the interests of computers of copyright protected works. Specifically, the African delegates have great expectations from librarians. They expect us to advise them on exceptions and limitations that are best for Africa (read South African statement here)

We (library group) had a meeting with the African Group in which we expressed our support for their proposal. The group also welcomed contribution of the library group to the betterment of the proposal.

Secondly, people in our (country) copyright offices sing a different song from the African consensus. Some copyright offices in Africa get their funding from their partners from the developed countries. As a result they are forced to promote agendas that are little or no importance to Africa.

Thirdly, there is no straight road at SCCR. In a day you cannot plan your next step. The winds change anyhow and to survive, as a team, you have to learn to adapt quickly. Different groupings have different priorities and they continually seek opportunities to get support for their interests. Obviously, Africa as a group of developing countries has an agenda that might not be a priority for other groups yet the other groups need Africa to achieve their agendas.

Lastly, the policies that are made here are so pertinent to our work in libraries. Being here makes me appreciate more the work done by eIFL.net in lobbying on our behalf.

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